Are you prepared for life changes?

  • By Dale Terwedo Terwedo Financial Services LLC
  • Wednesday, April 30, 2008 8:41am

One thing that is certain to never change is change itself. Sometimes those changes are thrust upon us without our input, and others are brought on by decisions we make ourselves.

In the context of planning for our lives financially, some of the greatest stressors possible are changes to our financial status or independence. A good example is the death of a spouse, especially the primary breadwinner.

When the death of a spouse occurs, several major issues are faced by the survivor. First, you have lost your partner in life; the longer the relationship, the more difficult this can be. Next, you are forced to make many decisions about funeral, financial and family needs.

Imagine you are the survivor, even as the primary breadwinner, and the other spouse dies. In my house, while I’m the primary earner, my wife adds so much by running the house that I’d likely have to hire additional staff just to get everything done. And I’m sure they wouldn’t stick around to tell me what looks good to wear! She also has worked side by side with me in our business for over 22 years! The financial stress is second only to the death of the spouse.

Imagine the divorce. I’ve heard so many people describe this much like the death of a spouse. Financial issues can be even more complicated because decisions need to be made and can change over time.

Retirement is very stressful for most, especially if your identity is wrapped up in WHAT you do rather than WHO you are. If not prepared, you could be saving all your life just to get to retirement. Have you ever heard of anybody who got there just as their health failed? Having adequate sources of financial capital is important, but how much “social and fun” capital do you have? How will you fill your time?

Some of my favorite people are so busy in retirement; they’re not sure how they had time to work before retirement. Their schedules, and their hearts, are full of causes, friends, activities and a purpose that make them really fun to be around. Their energy is tremendous, and they light up the room. If you are having trouble imagining yourself retired, find someone like this and ask their advice.

Let’s talk to those of you who own a business. Have you ever known somebody that had a partner die or become disabled? What would happen to your business if this occurred?

As a business owner, have you ever thought about retiring or simply redeploying your assets and energies in a different direction? Like those above that retired from a career, business owners have similar concerns, but they can be coupled with the need to be in charge or working toward goals. You don’t just turn this off, you know.

Then there are the questions surrounding the sale of the business: What’s it REALLY worth? How will you sell it? Can you maximize the value? WHO will buy it? How should it be financed? What are the tax implications?

If you have read this column for any length of time, you know I believe in getting the right advice from the right adviser, one who is willing to join your TEAM. I’m a member of the Northwest Family Business Advisors (NWFBA), and the membership has most of these people you may need. I have several other Strategic Alliances who are advisers in other areas of finances, legal, tax, etc. If you’d like referrals to these groups, e-mail Denine at my office and she’ll get them to you. Her e-mail address is They are located all over the Puget Sound and are all independent. Additionally, they know how to integrate into a team of advisers.

The questions above are too important to neglect and do require focus. In the hustle of our daily lives they can easily get pushed aside or overlooked. They also can be overwhelming, but a great adviser can break the process down into more manageable bites. If you have a great relationship with an adviser, congratulations! If your relationship is less than satisfactory or simply nonexistent, we can help; or be bold and ask your friends. The important thing is to take action and anticipate change. It’s coming, and it will likely be different than you expected!

Dale Terwedo, certified as a CFP, ChFC and CLU, is principal of Terwedo Financial Services LLC, an independent financial services firm in Edmonds. In practice since 1983, Terwedo offers securities and investment advice through FSC Securities Corp., Atlanta, Ga., a Registered Broker/Dealer, Member of FINRA/SIPC and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. For more information, visit, send e-mail to or call 425-776-0446.

The views expressed are not necessarily the opinion of FSC Securities Corp. and should not be construed, directly or indirectly, as an offer to buy or sell any securities mentioned herein. Investing is subject to risks, including loss of principal invested.

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